According to a recent press release, marine aviation is currently testing new technology: the new Common Aviation Command and Control System. Recently, senior level Marine Corps leadership visited the systems and test sites for the new Common Aviation Command and Control System at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Oct. 20, 2015.
This first-hand look at developmental capability supporting the operational forces took place during Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-16. Senior level Marine Corps leadership included: Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps, and Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander, Marine Corps Systems Command, along with Senior Executives Thomas Dee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Expeditionary Operations and Logistics Management, and William Taylor, Program Executive Officer Land Systems. Participation in the WTI classes, according to the program office, allows the program to refine the system's capabilities and fix any discrepancies before fully fielding it. The Marine Corps is continuing to research the most cost-effective way of implementing the new systems to win battles.
The new CAC2S system was observed which has the ability to support multiple air combat element operations in deployed environments. This CAC2S system will allow Marine Corps aviation to surpass operational, technical and performance capabilities. The CAC2S provides modernized equipment for three Aviation Combat Element (ACE) tactical agencies:
- Tactical Air Command Center
- Tactical Air Operations Center
- Direct Air Support Center
Workstations with updated software are designed to collect data from highly sensitive radars and sensors that will provide commanders with vast airspace knowledge. Captain Marco Arriago, officer in charge, Tactical Air Operations Center, Marine Air Control Squadron One, said the systems have increased MACS-1’s capabilities. Arriago said, “It’s been very smooth transitioning with this equipment. The stability has been a lot better than what we’ve seen with the legacy gear, where the processors have overloaded. I’d take any of these over the old systems, as they are right now."
He continued, “We are still learning, but the ability to increase mobility and being self-reliant has been pretty phenomenal so far."
The previous system has been in use since the 1980s; CAC2S Program Office will act as a replacement for this system, in conjunction with the operating forces tested the new CAC2S system.
“We were able set up the TACC in a much shorter amount of time compared to the older systems, which had more working parts,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nathaniel Kragel, maintenance officer, Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 38. The press release stated, "A CH-53 “Super Stallion” or similar aircraft can efficiently transport all the equipment and facilities for CAC2S, to include [High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles], which serve as Aviation Command and Control Systems."
According to Maj. Marcus Hinckley, Command, Control, and Communications (C3) department head, operations and training, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, Marines can expect a huge advantage due to the speed of the new system's software. "The information exchange is much faster," she said. "It quickens the timeline, making the MAGTF more lethal."
Marines will continue testing various parts like panel mount power connectors and refining the system; fixes will be implemented while Marine Aviation moves forward with the new technology. The press release states that the Marine Corps plans to field the CAC2S to the Fleet Marine Force beginning in fiscal year 2017.